Abu Bakr Al Siddiq (RA) And the Wars of Ridah (Apostasy)
Not everyone was in complete agreement with Muhammad and the Quran, a.k.a. Islam’s most holy book. Several leaders who had previously converted to Islam soon began committing acts of apostasy such as claiming to be prophets in their own right (Muhammad, according to more than 99% of Islam’s 1.7 billion followers, is the seal of prophets, meaning no other prophets are to come after him).
An example of the many false prophets that claimed to come after Muhammad include leaders like Musaylimah, leader of the Banu Hanifa. Even while Muhammad was alive, Musaylimah he was a supposed magician, and claimed to be divine. These leaders would play vital roles in the upcoming wars of apostasy.
Abu Bakr had to struggle with apostates and false prophets. What elements caused the wars of apostasy? First, the death of the Prophet was a great shock to Muslims. For the first time in the lives of both the Meccans and the Medinans, they were united around a single religion. Their centuries-old customs and feudal or tribal values and understandings were abolished. Their absorption of the new system would not be easy. They accepted this system in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad. So his death was a great shock. Adoption of the new system was difficult especially for the newly-converted desert tribes. Some of them left the new religion and followed false prophets who appeared among them and called them back to their old customs.
Secondly, Islam instituted zakat (alms-giving or charity). It was collected from the rich and spent for the well-being of the poor and for the wayfarers left without money to complete their travel. It was also used for those who cannot pay their debts, and for those who strive in “God’s cause”. Some desert tribes refused to pay it after the Prophet’s death. This signaled their revolt against the new administration in Medina.
Thirdly, the influence of the Romans from the north and the Persians and the Abyssinians from the east and the south encouraged the distant tribes to return back to their own beliefs and customs. (As?m, 1981).
Abu Bakr succeeded in putting down the rebellions and re-instituted unity in Arabia. His good reputation among people, his character, and his wise measures were influential in surpassing the rebellions and re-instituting the unity. He sent military units against the revolting tribes. In the end, those tribes gave up their disobedience.